Big East to raise exit fee, with a catch.

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Last night, the 14 remaining Big East presidents (yes, that included the precious basketball schools including DePaul) held a teleconference to double the exit fee to $10 million, with a huge catch.

That catch is– Navy AND Air Force has to join the conference. [USA Today]

The Big East took its first significant step toward expansion Monday night when the league’s presidents and chancellors voted to double the conference exit fee to $10 million for football schools, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision. That person did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

The increase is contingent on Navy and Air Force joining, said another official in the Big East who also asked to not be named because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

A higher fee would give the league greater stability, making it more difficult to leave. The Big East would like to add six teams to form a 12-team football league. In addition to the service academies, the league plans to invite Boise State in football only and Central Florida, SMU and Houston in all sports.

Commissioner John Marinatto is scheduled to address realignment issues in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.

Presidents from football and basketball member schools were involved in the Monday decision. The exit fee for basketball schools remains $5 million.

See, the Basketball schools YET AGAIN get special protection! Newsflash: The basketball schools are the ones ruining this once-great conference! They honestly should NOT have any say in football-related matters.

In Big East-related news, according to the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Cougars have been extended an invite to the Big East.

UH’s hope of joining an automatic-qualifying Bowl Championship Series conference may soon come to fruition after the Big East Conference extended an invitation to UH on Monday evening.

The league extended an invitation to UH after a conference call on expansion with the Big East’s presidents and chancellors according to a person familiar with the Big East’s expansion discussions.

UH chancellor Renu Khator and athletic director Mack Rhoades will head to New York later this week to meet with Big East officials. UH officials declined comment.

If UH makes the move and leaves Conference USA, it could take effect as early as the 2013 football season and it would be for all sports.

However, the biggest bomb of Conference Realignment news last night came out of MizzWHO. An article out of the NY Times says that Missouri’s application to the SEC is “inevitable and imminent.”

The University of Missouri is heading down a path to join the Southeastern Conference, said a university official with direct knowledge of the situation.

The person said that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was “inevitable and imminent,” although a specific timeframe has yet to be set. Missouri’s Board of Curators will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 and applying to the SEC is expected to begin. Expansion is not listed on the agenda, but there is a private session scheduled Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

After it applies, the person said that Missouri expected “no problems” with gathering enough votes among SEC presidents for it to become a member.

Furthermore in the article…

Missouri has emerged as an unlikely linchpin in expansion, considering it has never won a Big 12 title in football. But the futures of the Big 12, the SEC and the Big East were tied to Missouri’s decision.

This news dampens some optimism for the Big East, which appeared to be gaining momentum toward reviving its football fortunes. The exits of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Texas Christian have the league struggling for survival, and Louisville and West Virginia are considered strong candidates, along with Brigham Young, for Big 12 expansion.

The Big East has made it clear that it would like to add Boise State, Air Force and Navy in football and Central Florida, Southern Methodist and Houston in all sports. The potential problem for the Big East is that it needs stability to remain attractive to potential new members.

Mountaineer Faithful, it looks like (to me) that WVU to the SEC is dead. If WVU has any hope of leaving the Big East, it’s an invitation to the Big 12. I’m sure WVU would come in a package deal with either Louisville (most likely) or Cincinnati (long shot.) BYU has also been mentioned as a Big 12 candidate, despite the Big 12’s TV partners not wanting BYU. Plus, BYU has their own network (yeah, like Texas does.) Do you think the Big 12 would want to put up with those “We have our own network” headaches from two schools?

Yes, we endorsed WVU going to the SEC… that’s when the sentiment looked strong. However, it appears to be dead now. And, don’t EVEN float the ACC as a possibility… they don’t want WVU at all. Also, for those of you wanting to go to the ACC for “basketball” and/or to “renew rivalries with Virginia Tech and Miami”… c’mon, already! Rivalries and traditions were destroyed ages ago with them… and basketball doesn’t have a say in this conference realignment. It’s about two things: Football, and money.

Personally, I’m not too crazy about being in a Big East that has Central Florida (who is not all they’re cracked up to be), SMU (#firecraigjames), and Boise State (distance). Plus, the AQ bid isn’t assured with the Big East. It is with the Big 12. However, I am intrigued about a possible WVU vs. Houston matchup with Holgorsen taking on his former boss Kevin Sumlin.

Keep the faith, Mountaineer fans. And, for those of you doom-and-gloomers, please jump off the ledge, already.

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Tags: ACC Air Force Big 12 Big East Boise State Central Florida Cincinnati Conference Realignment Houston Louisville Missouri Navy SEC SMU West Virginia

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